IPSWICH & Norwich Co-op has seen its business increase by 5.2 per cent on a like-for-like basis over the past year.
The society's Annual Review shows turnover of £ 273.6 million for the 52 weeks ended 6th September.
Trading surplus reached a record level of £ 11 million. Capital investment was £ 9.1 million, with further commitments at the end of the year amounting to £ 14.9 million.
The society's Community Dividend scheme provided support for over 100 local organisations with the donation of members' dividend generating more than £ 70,000.
Presenting the accounts to members' meetings at Norwich, Sudbury and Ipswich, Chief Executive William Brown said: "This is an excellent result in terms of overall profitability and increased support for community activities. We look forward to further progress in the year ahead with an exciting programme of new developments."
After providing for dividend on members' purchases the society added £ 7.7 million to reserves, bringing them to over £ l00 million.
Major store developments were seen at Hadleigh and Combs Ford in Suffolk and Spixworth in Norfolk, and new stores will follow in the coming year at Long Stratton and Dereham Road, Norwich and other sites in Norwich and Ipswich.
Food sales increased by 5.2 per cent with many stores benefiting from modernisation. The Torex Visual till system will be rolled out across all food stores in 2004.
Work has started at the society's Ipswich department store to enlarge the sales area. The society's head office will be housed on upper floors of the complex and the ground floor will be let to traders.
The Sterling Motors Peugeot franchise continued to grow with new outlets in Kings Lynn and Sudbury. New dealerships were gained for Daewoo in Ipswich and Kings Lynn and Kia in Ipswich.
New projects for the community programme include a pilot scheme, ?Promoting Positive Behaviour', with the Ipswich Crime arid Disorder Reduction Partnership and ?Co-operating for the Future', a week-end course for young people at risk with the Youth Hostel Association and Suffolk Council for Voluntary Youth Services. A new Community Dividend was launched to help charities raise money using the dedicated charity share number.
Tributes were paid to Jack Preston and Brian Mead who retired from the board. Mary Blacksell, Michael Claydon and Andrew Moore were elected as directors for three years and Christine Hay for one year.
Gwen Carey and Margaret Tilletson and Michael Newman were re-elected to the Member Education Committee joined by Richard Bickle and Chris Newbury.